The origins of the celebration of a new year can be traced back to the Egyptians and Babylonians more than 4,000 years ago. Each year in September, the Nile River flooded, enriching the farmland and signaling a new beginning for the farmers. The Egyptians would parade statues of the god Amon and Amon's wife and son on a boat on the river and feast for a month. The Babylonians celebrated the new year on March 23 to signify the beginning of a new cycle of planting and harvesting crops. They would strip the clothing from their king and send him away for a few days. When he returned during a procession, he was decked out in glorious new robes. It wasn't until the Roman emperor, Julius Caesar, established his own calendar in 46 b.c.e. that January 1 was picked to be the start of the new year in the Julian calendar.
There's nothing like a homemade party hat to kick off a New Year's Eve gala. Impress your friends and family by making several creations and providing the materials for guests who want to make their own designs. For the kids involved, you might want to award a prize for the most original hat, the funniest hat, the most colorful hat, and so on.
Time involved: One to two hours
- Tape measure
- Multicolored pack of foam sheets
- Low-temperature glue gun or foam sheet glue
- Assorted bags of foam shapes, letters, animals
- Bag of feathers (optional)
- Glitter pens
- Cut the basic shape of your hat by measuring your head and cutting a 3-inch band of foam sheet to that dimension. Glue the two ends of the foam band together to form a circle.
- Cut another shape out of a different color of foam sheet and glue it to the front of the band. One idea is to make a circular shape and draw a fireworks display on it.
- Add details to your hat by cutting shapes out of other foam sheets or by gluing pre-cut foam shapes onto your hat. Add feathers if desired.
- Write “Happy New Year!” and the date on the band of your hat.